public defenders

Earlene McMichael | WMUK

We're looking back at some of our stories from 2019. On Dec. 26, we hear from two of the top administrators from Kalamazoo County's first-ever public defender's office. The Kalamazoo Defender opened on July 1st with 22 attorneys to serve people who can't afford legal representation in their criminal cases.

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A longtime effort to bring a public defender's office to Kalamazoo County has succeeded. The nonprofit entity called Kalamazoo Defender opened for business on July 1 to work with income-challenged defendants. The Sixth Amendment guarantees Americans legal representation in criminal cases.

Kalamazoo Defender | David Birkam

On July 1st, things began looking up for Kalamazoo County residents who can't afford an attorney. Now, defendants can turn to a central office of 22 attorneys dedicated exclusively to such cases, and soon two social workers will be on staff to link clients with community resources so they can live healthier in hopes of preventing recidivism. The newly created Kalamazoo Defender is the first ever public defender's office in the county.

Michigan is currently one of seven states that doesn't provide money for indigent defense